Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Just how based in reality is Spooks?

I've had an on off relationship with Spooks. Many people I know think it's fabulous and following a rave review by Caitlin Moran in the Times on Monday I thought I'd catch the 2nd episode of 2 last night.

Rather interestingly the episode was all about the introduction of special measures that would effectively abolish the need for parliament and introduce a full dictatorship to Britain.

The fictional name for the bill that would allow this transition to dictatorship was 'the Executive and Regulatory Reform Bill' and it was supposedly being introduced to safeguard the British people from terrorist threat. Of course as with all great conspiracy theories the terrorist attrocities that were occuring were being undertaken by government themselves to smooth the transition of the bill.

You may remember a post I wrote back in May about a bill that was currently before the lords under the 'spookily' similar name of the Regulatory and Legislative Reform Bill. Rather interestingly this bill was introduced under nothing so high profile, or dramatic as safeguarding against terrorism. Nope this was being brought in according to Daniel Finkelstein in The Times as follows:

''The Government claims that it has no malign intention in introducing the reform to parliamentary procedures. It is just that it has such ambitious plans for deregulation — or “better regulation” as it rather suspiciously calls it — that Parliament won’t be able to cope. The previous Regulatory Reform Act, passed in 2001, was so hedged around with conditions and safeguards that it took longer to produce a regulatory reform order than it did to produce a Bill. So this time, the Government wants more sweeping powers.

During future detailed Commons consideration of the Bill, restrictions on the terms of the new orders will be resisted using the argument that business wants deregulation and government has to get on with it.''

So it's all about business deregulation however read between the lines and the introduction of the bill would in fact:

'' grant[s] any minister the ability to amend, replace, or repeal existing legislation. The frightening thing is this: they would be able to make major changes to the law without Parliament being able to examine it properly, taking away the ability of Parliament to meaningfully represent the citizens of this country.''

For obvious reasons this has variously been called 'The Abolition of Parlaiment Bill' and 'The Stop Parliament Bill' and has caused widespread concern in small corners of the media, judiciary and business.

This was the response I recieved from Keith Hill my MP when I wrote to him of my concerns about the abolition of parliament issues, back in March. (click on picture to enlarge)

Now I've had a good look for updates on where we are with the review in the Lords to this bill and the trail has gone very dead. It would appear from Mr Hill's comments that a major rethink has been sought, but nothng appears to have moved on since May. However, these things do have a nasty habit of popping up from nowhere. It's very important we do continue to pursue this and ensure that the bill doesn't simply slip under the radar unchallenged. Keep vigilant people. I will keep you updated.

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